Discussion:
When did mainframes lose commercial dominance?
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Thomas Koenig
2020-09-05 10:12:14 UTC
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Clearly, in the 1980s, mainframes ruled the commercial world, at
least for large companies.

By that time, they had mostly lost the crown of scientific
calculation to the minis (with the exception of vector computers).

So, when did they lose their dominant commercial position?

At the company I used to work for, they had a home-grown accounting
system running on mainframes, which they then replaced with an ERP
system in the late 1990s. That system didn't need the mainframes
any more, so they were deactivated.

(You could argue that a company which does that replaces a hardware
vendor lock with the mother of all software vendor locks.)

Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is
no certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.

So, when did the mainframes start losing the commercial computing
centers? Is around 2000-ish the right timeframe?
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 10:55:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Thomas Koenig
Clearly, in the 1980s, mainframes ruled the commercial world, at
least for large companies.
By that time, they had mostly lost the crown of scientific
calculation to the minis (with the exception of vector computers).
So, when did they lose their dominant commercial position?
At the company I used to work for, they had a home-grown accounting
system running on mainframes, which they then replaced with an ERP
system in the late 1990s. That system didn't need the mainframes
any more, so they were deactivated.
(You could argue that a company which does that replaces a hardware
vendor lock with the mother of all software vendor locks.)
Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is
no certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.
So, when did the mainframes start losing the commercial computing
centers? Is around 2000-ish the right timeframe?
We've all probably got our own little peephole that we look at computing
history through.

I remember discussion among my peers about automating dentist offices,
gas stations, etc. there was a huge untapped market there, but S/360
was priced way out of that market. Then in the 90s PCs started
to enter that market. That's when I saw the future of the mainframe.

I'd guess 2000 is about right for the start of significant
movement off the mainframe. But of course there are plenty of
large companies that are still on mainframes and will remain there
for the foreseeable future.
--
Dan Espen
Bob Eager
2020-09-05 11:19:49 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
We've all probably got our own little peephole that we look at computing
history through.
I remember discussion among my peers about automating dentist offices,
gas stations, etc. there was a huge untapped market there, but S/360
was priced way out of that market. Then in the 90s PCs started to enter
that market. That's when I saw the future of the mainframe.
I'd guess 2000 is about right for the start of significant movement off
the mainframe. But of course there are plenty of large companies that
are still on mainframes and will remain there for the foreseeable
future.
Around 1990 (in a university computer centre) one of the senior tech guys
gave a presentation. In it, he said that PCs were never going to catch on
in a big way (i.e. one on every desk) but that the future was X
terminals. He demonstrated how wonderful they were.

The only reason there weren't many PCs in that place was the director.
Nice guy, but he'd taken against PCs for soem reason. He retired a year
later, and the tech guy suddenly found PCs everywhere. Not many X
terminals, even as PCs.

(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Niklas Karlsson
2020-09-05 12:31:55 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.

I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.

Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.

Niklas
--
"... I've seen Sun monitors on fire off the side of the multimedia lab.
I've seen NTU lights glitter in the dark near the Mail Gate.
All these things will be lost in time, like the root partition last week.
Time to die...". - Peter Gutmann in alt.sysadmin.recovery
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 13:26:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
As a big fan of Fvwm and a past X windows networked user I think Wayland
is a bad joke. A typical case of someone wanting to blaze a new path
rather than enhancing what's already working.

I watched the Wayland demos and every one of them talked about
"tearing". I've got years of using X windows, I have no idea what
tearing they're talking about. Likewise I thought their arguments about
no one needing networking were (well I don't need it so you don't
either).

So, not a fan of Wayland. Fortunately, from what I'm reading,
Wayland has yet to show it's superiority. I wish it would just die and
go away.

As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
Back when I had to connect to many different machines at work
I had a GUI I wrote hooked up to my Fvwm configuration.
If I had a new server say "treerat", I'd go into my GUI and pick a
shortcut letter for the server, probably "t" if it wasn't already used.
I'd enter the "t", the server host name and some arguments to the
terminal program (for example a background color pattern).

The command line to start the terminal used the host name as a -name
argument to the terminal program. That made it possible for Fvwm
to tell one terminal from another.

Then I'd be able to type "shift t" to launch a new terminal on that
host, or "meta t" to do the same thing iconified, or just "t" to warp to
an existing terminal on treerat.

That made it possible to access all my servers with a single root window
keystroke.

The GUI also built an Fvwm menu for server access so if I didn't want
to devote a hot key I could still get to the server.

I tried to create a similar workflow on Windows. Not a chance.

I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
--
Dan Espen
J. Clarke
2020-09-05 16:04:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?

And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
As a big fan of Fvwm and a past X windows networked user I think Wayland
is a bad joke. A typical case of someone wanting to blaze a new path
rather than enhancing what's already working.
I watched the Wayland demos and every one of them talked about
"tearing". I've got years of using X windows, I have no idea what
tearing they're talking about. Likewise I thought their arguments about
no one needing networking were (well I don't need it so you don't
either).
So, not a fan of Wayland. Fortunately, from what I'm reading,
Wayland has yet to show it's superiority. I wish it would just die and
go away.
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
Back when I had to connect to many different machines at work
I had a GUI I wrote hooked up to my Fvwm configuration.
If I had a new server say "treerat", I'd go into my GUI and pick a
shortcut letter for the server, probably "t" if it wasn't already used.
I'd enter the "t", the server host name and some arguments to the
terminal program (for example a background color pattern).
The command line to start the terminal used the host name as a -name
argument to the terminal program. That made it possible for Fvwm
to tell one terminal from another.
Then I'd be able to type "shift t" to launch a new terminal on that
host, or "meta t" to do the same thing iconified, or just "t" to warp to
an existing terminal on treerat.
That made it possible to access all my servers with a single root window
keystroke.
The GUI also built an Fvwm menu for server access so if I didn't want
to devote a hot key I could still get to the server.
I tried to create a similar workflow on Windows. Not a chance.
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 16:26:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?
And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Yes an X terminal is significantly simpler than a full blown PC
but it still has to have a lot of the same parts.
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
As a big fan of Fvwm and a past X windows networked user I think Wayland
is a bad joke. A typical case of someone wanting to blaze a new path
rather than enhancing what's already working.
I watched the Wayland demos and every one of them talked about
"tearing". I've got years of using X windows, I have no idea what
tearing they're talking about. Likewise I thought their arguments about
no one needing networking were (well I don't need it so you don't
either).
So, not a fan of Wayland. Fortunately, from what I'm reading,
Wayland has yet to show it's superiority. I wish it would just die and
go away.
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
Back when I had to connect to many different machines at work
I had a GUI I wrote hooked up to my Fvwm configuration.
If I had a new server say "treerat", I'd go into my GUI and pick a
shortcut letter for the server, probably "t" if it wasn't already used.
I'd enter the "t", the server host name and some arguments to the
terminal program (for example a background color pattern).
The command line to start the terminal used the host name as a -name
argument to the terminal program. That made it possible for Fvwm
to tell one terminal from another.
Then I'd be able to type "shift t" to launch a new terminal on that
host, or "meta t" to do the same thing iconified, or just "t" to warp to
an existing terminal on treerat.
That made it possible to access all my servers with a single root window
keystroke.
The GUI also built an Fvwm menu for server access so if I didn't want
to devote a hot key I could still get to the server.
I tried to create a similar workflow on Windows. Not a chance.
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
As far as I can tell, the Windows OS owns the root window.
I'm not a windows expert but I couldn't find a way to write my own key bindings
and Windows doesn't expose it for cusomization.

I'm a big fan of root window key bindings.

Typically the root window brings up menus and you navigate the menus
with the arrow keys. So, I use the arrow keys to launch root window menus.
--
Dan Espen
J. Clarke
2020-09-05 16:57:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?
And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Yes an X terminal is significantly simpler than a full blown PC
but it still has to have a lot of the same parts.
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
As a big fan of Fvwm and a past X windows networked user I think Wayland
is a bad joke. A typical case of someone wanting to blaze a new path
rather than enhancing what's already working.
I watched the Wayland demos and every one of them talked about
"tearing". I've got years of using X windows, I have no idea what
tearing they're talking about. Likewise I thought their arguments about
no one needing networking were (well I don't need it so you don't
either).
So, not a fan of Wayland. Fortunately, from what I'm reading,
Wayland has yet to show it's superiority. I wish it would just die and
go away.
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
Back when I had to connect to many different machines at work
I had a GUI I wrote hooked up to my Fvwm configuration.
If I had a new server say "treerat", I'd go into my GUI and pick a
shortcut letter for the server, probably "t" if it wasn't already used.
I'd enter the "t", the server host name and some arguments to the
terminal program (for example a background color pattern).
The command line to start the terminal used the host name as a -name
argument to the terminal program. That made it possible for Fvwm
to tell one terminal from another.
Then I'd be able to type "shift t" to launch a new terminal on that
host, or "meta t" to do the same thing iconified, or just "t" to warp to
an existing terminal on treerat.
That made it possible to access all my servers with a single root window
keystroke.
The GUI also built an Fvwm menu for server access so if I didn't want
to devote a hot key I could still get to the server.
I tried to create a similar workflow on Windows. Not a chance.
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
As far as I can tell, the Windows OS owns the root window.
I'm not a windows expert but I couldn't find a way to write my own key bindings
and Windows doesn't expose it for cusomization.
I'm a big fan of root window key bindings.
Typically the root window brings up menus and you navigate the menus
with the arrow keys. So, I use the arrow keys to launch root window menus.
The established way to do this in Windows is with third party
software. "Autohotkey" is the most common. There are also
brute-force methods--any decent gamer keyboard lets you set up
keyboard macros that are run on the keyboard's internal processor.
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 18:03:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?
And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Yes an X terminal is significantly simpler than a full blown PC
but it still has to have a lot of the same parts.
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
As a big fan of Fvwm and a past X windows networked user I think Wayland
is a bad joke. A typical case of someone wanting to blaze a new path
rather than enhancing what's already working.
I watched the Wayland demos and every one of them talked about
"tearing". I've got years of using X windows, I have no idea what
tearing they're talking about. Likewise I thought their arguments about
no one needing networking were (well I don't need it so you don't
either).
So, not a fan of Wayland. Fortunately, from what I'm reading,
Wayland has yet to show it's superiority. I wish it would just die and
go away.
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
Back when I had to connect to many different machines at work
I had a GUI I wrote hooked up to my Fvwm configuration.
If I had a new server say "treerat", I'd go into my GUI and pick a
shortcut letter for the server, probably "t" if it wasn't already used.
I'd enter the "t", the server host name and some arguments to the
terminal program (for example a background color pattern).
The command line to start the terminal used the host name as a -name
argument to the terminal program. That made it possible for Fvwm
to tell one terminal from another.
Then I'd be able to type "shift t" to launch a new terminal on that
host, or "meta t" to do the same thing iconified, or just "t" to warp to
an existing terminal on treerat.
That made it possible to access all my servers with a single root window
keystroke.
The GUI also built an Fvwm menu for server access so if I didn't want
to devote a hot key I could still get to the server.
I tried to create a similar workflow on Windows. Not a chance.
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
As far as I can tell, the Windows OS owns the root window.
I'm not a windows expert but I couldn't find a way to write my own key bindings
and Windows doesn't expose it for cusomization.
I'm a big fan of root window key bindings.
Typically the root window brings up menus and you navigate the menus
with the arrow keys. So, I use the arrow keys to launch root window menus.
The established way to do this in Windows is with third party
software. "Autohotkey" is the most common. There are also
brute-force methods--any decent gamer keyboard lets you set up
keyboard macros that are run on the keyboard's internal processor.
I see, both the keyboard solution and autohotkeys are a macro
approach.

As I said, I had a bunch of terminals only distinguished by the host
they were logged into and I could warp to them by the host they were logged into.

I wonder what kind of macro would know how to do that?

In X windows, each window is assigned a name class and resource which
external programs and the window manager can use to access the window.
The command line to start the terminal lets you assign a name.

I've been looking at replacing my keyboard. It's a mechanical model
with backlit keys. It still works but some of the lights are no longer
working and the manufacturer bit the dust so I can no longer
buy their LEDs.

I was looking at a neat Logitech model but the pandemic hit and they
pulled it from production. There are lots of LED models but most of
them have serious light leakage around the outside of the key.

The ones I'm considering now all have RGB, any light on the keyboard can
be any color. Sort of nuts but there are Linux drivers for them.
Many of them support macros, but I don't really need that.
--
Dan Espen
J. Clarke
2020-09-05 19:15:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?
And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Yes an X terminal is significantly simpler than a full blown PC
but it still has to have a lot of the same parts.
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
As a big fan of Fvwm and a past X windows networked user I think Wayland
is a bad joke. A typical case of someone wanting to blaze a new path
rather than enhancing what's already working.
I watched the Wayland demos and every one of them talked about
"tearing". I've got years of using X windows, I have no idea what
tearing they're talking about. Likewise I thought their arguments about
no one needing networking were (well I don't need it so you don't
either).
So, not a fan of Wayland. Fortunately, from what I'm reading,
Wayland has yet to show it's superiority. I wish it would just die and
go away.
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
Back when I had to connect to many different machines at work
I had a GUI I wrote hooked up to my Fvwm configuration.
If I had a new server say "treerat", I'd go into my GUI and pick a
shortcut letter for the server, probably "t" if it wasn't already used.
I'd enter the "t", the server host name and some arguments to the
terminal program (for example a background color pattern).
The command line to start the terminal used the host name as a -name
argument to the terminal program. That made it possible for Fvwm
to tell one terminal from another.
Then I'd be able to type "shift t" to launch a new terminal on that
host, or "meta t" to do the same thing iconified, or just "t" to warp to
an existing terminal on treerat.
That made it possible to access all my servers with a single root window
keystroke.
The GUI also built an Fvwm menu for server access so if I didn't want
to devote a hot key I could still get to the server.
I tried to create a similar workflow on Windows. Not a chance.
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
As far as I can tell, the Windows OS owns the root window.
I'm not a windows expert but I couldn't find a way to write my own key bindings
and Windows doesn't expose it for cusomization.
I'm a big fan of root window key bindings.
Typically the root window brings up menus and you navigate the menus
with the arrow keys. So, I use the arrow keys to launch root window menus.
The established way to do this in Windows is with third party
software. "Autohotkey" is the most common. There are also
brute-force methods--any decent gamer keyboard lets you set up
keyboard macros that are run on the keyboard's internal processor.
I see, both the keyboard solution and autohotkeys are a macro
approach.
As I said, I had a bunch of terminals only distinguished by the host
they were logged into and I could warp to them by the host they were logged into.
I wonder what kind of macro would know how to do that?
In X windows, each window is assigned a name class and resource which
external programs and the window manager can use to access the window.
The command line to start the terminal lets you assign a name.
I've been looking at replacing my keyboard. It's a mechanical model
with backlit keys. It still works but some of the lights are no longer
working and the manufacturer bit the dust so I can no longer
buy their LEDs.
I was looking at a neat Logitech model but the pandemic hit and they
pulled it from production. There are lots of LED models but most of
them have serious light leakage around the outside of the key.
The ones I'm considering now all have RGB, any light on the keyboard can
be any color. Sort of nuts but there are Linux drivers for them.
Many of them support macros, but I don't really need that.
Right now, I'm finding that I don't have any of my systems set up for
remote access so I can't experiment until I do some reconfiguring. But
AutoHotkey does have a provision to activate a window by window
handle.

With regard to keyboards, my three favorites are all Logitech. The
G910 is the one I use most of the time at home (I use a different one
at work but it's company-provided and the best thing I can say about
it is that it works). Before the G910 I had a K800--enough keys on it
finally lost the ability to retain a keycap that I replaced it with
the 910. I have a G915 which is a wonderful keyboard if you're
working on a desk or tabletop but the lack of any kind of rest for the
heel of the hand makes it less comfortable for use in one's lap, which
is now my normal working mode. All are backlit. The 800 is white
backlit, the other two are RGB. The 800 and 915 are wireless--the 800
needs a dongle, the 915 has a dongle but it's run what you brung--it
can connect using the dongle, Bluetooth, or I believe there's a way to
use it with wifi. They should all work with Linux, but making the 910
and 915 do tricks may require a specialized driver.
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 20:34:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?
And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Yes an X terminal is significantly simpler than a full blown PC
but it still has to have a lot of the same parts.
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
As a big fan of Fvwm and a past X windows networked user I think Wayland
is a bad joke. A typical case of someone wanting to blaze a new path
rather than enhancing what's already working.
I watched the Wayland demos and every one of them talked about
"tearing". I've got years of using X windows, I have no idea what
tearing they're talking about. Likewise I thought their arguments about
no one needing networking were (well I don't need it so you don't
either).
So, not a fan of Wayland. Fortunately, from what I'm reading,
Wayland has yet to show it's superiority. I wish it would just die and
go away.
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
Back when I had to connect to many different machines at work
I had a GUI I wrote hooked up to my Fvwm configuration.
If I had a new server say "treerat", I'd go into my GUI and pick a
shortcut letter for the server, probably "t" if it wasn't already used.
I'd enter the "t", the server host name and some arguments to the
terminal program (for example a background color pattern).
The command line to start the terminal used the host name as a -name
argument to the terminal program. That made it possible for Fvwm
to tell one terminal from another.
Then I'd be able to type "shift t" to launch a new terminal on that
host, or "meta t" to do the same thing iconified, or just "t" to warp to
an existing terminal on treerat.
That made it possible to access all my servers with a single root window
keystroke.
The GUI also built an Fvwm menu for server access so if I didn't want
to devote a hot key I could still get to the server.
I tried to create a similar workflow on Windows. Not a chance.
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
As far as I can tell, the Windows OS owns the root window.
I'm not a windows expert but I couldn't find a way to write my own key bindings
and Windows doesn't expose it for cusomization.
I'm a big fan of root window key bindings.
Typically the root window brings up menus and you navigate the menus
with the arrow keys. So, I use the arrow keys to launch root window menus.
The established way to do this in Windows is with third party
software. "Autohotkey" is the most common. There are also
brute-force methods--any decent gamer keyboard lets you set up
keyboard macros that are run on the keyboard's internal processor.
I see, both the keyboard solution and autohotkeys are a macro
approach.
As I said, I had a bunch of terminals only distinguished by the host
they were logged into and I could warp to them by the host they were logged into.
I wonder what kind of macro would know how to do that?
In X windows, each window is assigned a name class and resource which
external programs and the window manager can use to access the window.
The command line to start the terminal lets you assign a name.
I've been looking at replacing my keyboard. It's a mechanical model
with backlit keys. It still works but some of the lights are no longer
working and the manufacturer bit the dust so I can no longer
buy their LEDs.
I was looking at a neat Logitech model but the pandemic hit and they
pulled it from production. There are lots of LED models but most of
them have serious light leakage around the outside of the key.
The ones I'm considering now all have RGB, any light on the keyboard can
be any color. Sort of nuts but there are Linux drivers for them.
Many of them support macros, but I don't really need that.
Right now, I'm finding that I don't have any of my systems set up for
remote access so I can't experiment until I do some reconfiguring. But
AutoHotkey does have a provision to activate a window by window
handle.
With regard to keyboards, my three favorites are all Logitech. The
G910 is the one I use most of the time at home (I use a different one
at work but it's company-provided and the best thing I can say about
it is that it works). Before the G910 I had a K800--enough keys on it
finally lost the ability to retain a keycap that I replaced it with
the 910. I have a G915 which is a wonderful keyboard if you're
working on a desk or tabletop but the lack of any kind of rest for the
heel of the hand makes it less comfortable for use in one's lap, which
is now my normal working mode. All are backlit. The 800 is white
backlit, the other two are RGB. The 800 and 915 are wireless--the 800
needs a dongle, the 915 has a dongle but it's run what you brung--it
can connect using the dongle, Bluetooth, or I believe there's a way to
use it with wifi. They should all work with Linux, but making the 910
and 915 do tricks may require a specialized driver.
I was looking at the 810 before they pulled it from production.
I even had it on order. First they said it would be another month,
then they canceled. Amazon says they have 2 in stock at $300 apiece
but that's where I had the order first accepted then canceled.

Refurbs are cheaper but I think I'll find something better.

Isn't the 910 the one with no scroll lock LED?
I remember not liking they way it looked much but I was considering it.
Then I think I saw no scroll lock LED. (I have software that lights
the scroll lock key when I have unread email. I could have programmed
another key to change color but the missing key annoyed me.)
--
Dan Espen
J. Clarke
2020-09-05 21:02:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?
And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Yes an X terminal is significantly simpler than a full blown PC
but it still has to have a lot of the same parts.
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
As a big fan of Fvwm and a past X windows networked user I think Wayland
is a bad joke. A typical case of someone wanting to blaze a new path
rather than enhancing what's already working.
I watched the Wayland demos and every one of them talked about
"tearing". I've got years of using X windows, I have no idea what
tearing they're talking about. Likewise I thought their arguments about
no one needing networking were (well I don't need it so you don't
either).
So, not a fan of Wayland. Fortunately, from what I'm reading,
Wayland has yet to show it's superiority. I wish it would just die and
go away.
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
Back when I had to connect to many different machines at work
I had a GUI I wrote hooked up to my Fvwm configuration.
If I had a new server say "treerat", I'd go into my GUI and pick a
shortcut letter for the server, probably "t" if it wasn't already used.
I'd enter the "t", the server host name and some arguments to the
terminal program (for example a background color pattern).
The command line to start the terminal used the host name as a -name
argument to the terminal program. That made it possible for Fvwm
to tell one terminal from another.
Then I'd be able to type "shift t" to launch a new terminal on that
host, or "meta t" to do the same thing iconified, or just "t" to warp to
an existing terminal on treerat.
That made it possible to access all my servers with a single root window
keystroke.
The GUI also built an Fvwm menu for server access so if I didn't want
to devote a hot key I could still get to the server.
I tried to create a similar workflow on Windows. Not a chance.
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
As far as I can tell, the Windows OS owns the root window.
I'm not a windows expert but I couldn't find a way to write my own key bindings
and Windows doesn't expose it for cusomization.
I'm a big fan of root window key bindings.
Typically the root window brings up menus and you navigate the menus
with the arrow keys. So, I use the arrow keys to launch root window menus.
The established way to do this in Windows is with third party
software. "Autohotkey" is the most common. There are also
brute-force methods--any decent gamer keyboard lets you set up
keyboard macros that are run on the keyboard's internal processor.
I see, both the keyboard solution and autohotkeys are a macro
approach.
As I said, I had a bunch of terminals only distinguished by the host
they were logged into and I could warp to them by the host they were logged into.
I wonder what kind of macro would know how to do that?
In X windows, each window is assigned a name class and resource which
external programs and the window manager can use to access the window.
The command line to start the terminal lets you assign a name.
I've been looking at replacing my keyboard. It's a mechanical model
with backlit keys. It still works but some of the lights are no longer
working and the manufacturer bit the dust so I can no longer
buy their LEDs.
I was looking at a neat Logitech model but the pandemic hit and they
pulled it from production. There are lots of LED models but most of
them have serious light leakage around the outside of the key.
The ones I'm considering now all have RGB, any light on the keyboard can
be any color. Sort of nuts but there are Linux drivers for them.
Many of them support macros, but I don't really need that.
Right now, I'm finding that I don't have any of my systems set up for
remote access so I can't experiment until I do some reconfiguring. But
AutoHotkey does have a provision to activate a window by window
handle.
With regard to keyboards, my three favorites are all Logitech. The
G910 is the one I use most of the time at home (I use a different one
at work but it's company-provided and the best thing I can say about
it is that it works). Before the G910 I had a K800--enough keys on it
finally lost the ability to retain a keycap that I replaced it with
the 910. I have a G915 which is a wonderful keyboard if you're
working on a desk or tabletop but the lack of any kind of rest for the
heel of the hand makes it less comfortable for use in one's lap, which
is now my normal working mode. All are backlit. The 800 is white
backlit, the other two are RGB. The 800 and 915 are wireless--the 800
needs a dongle, the 915 has a dongle but it's run what you brung--it
can connect using the dongle, Bluetooth, or I believe there's a way to
use it with wifi. They should all work with Linux, but making the 910
and 915 do tricks may require a specialized driver.
I was looking at the 810 before they pulled it from production.
I even had it on order. First they said it would be another month,
then they canceled. Amazon says they have 2 in stock at $300 apiece
but that's where I had the order first accepted then canceled.
Refurbs are cheaper but I think I'll find something better.
Isn't the 910 the one with no scroll lock LED?
There's definitely a scroll lock LED.
Post by Dan Espen
I remember not liking they way it looked much but I was considering it.
Then I think I saw no scroll lock LED. (I have software that lights
the scroll lock key when I have unread email. I could have programmed
another key to change color but the missing key annoyed me.)
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 21:27:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Isn't the 910 the one with no scroll lock LED?
There's definitely a scroll lock LED.
Ah, I see them now. Not in the regular place but definitely there.

I wasn't too happy with the WASD markings but looking again the
the G1-G5 keys would be perfect for those custom keys I want to use.
Just where Sun put them.

Thanks again.
You sure seem to know your PC hardware.
--
Dan Espen
J. Clarke
2020-09-06 00:02:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Isn't the 910 the one with no scroll lock LED?
There's definitely a scroll lock LED.
Ah, I see them now. Not in the regular place but definitely there.
I wasn't too happy with the WASD markings but looking again the
the G1-G5 keys would be perfect for those custom keys I want to use.
Just where Sun put them.
And they're programmable. You might have to program them on a windows
box but the program should stay.
Post by Dan Espen
Thanks again.
You sure seem to know your PC hardware.
Well, thank you. I've been building PCs for fun and profit for about
40 years now. More for fun lately than for profit.

I was thinking about another one this year, but after being annoyed
one too many times by no usable signal on my cheap 5 year old Chinese
phone (going to be a real problem shortly--they're changing the
authentication system at work so that you have to have a working
cellular connection) I decided to drop the hammer on a high end
Samsung to see if paying that kind of money for a phone actually makes
a difference. 8 cores, 3 GHz, 12 GB RAM, half an effing TERABYTE of
solid state disk (and another half on a microSD card smaller than the
nail on my pinkie finger), more money than I paid for a (used) Lincoln
Continental in 1969, and it's a damned _phone_. Which is big enough
to have a decent-sized antenna inside. I know it's an extravagance
but if I'm paying that kind of money anyway, I may as well get _all_
the goodies.

I'm told that von Neumann one chewed out a grad student for wasting
expensive CPU cycles having the machine do things (like compiling
code) that a human could do. I wonder what he would say about such
beast?
Dan Espen
2020-09-06 01:50:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Isn't the 910 the one with no scroll lock LED?
There's definitely a scroll lock LED.
Ah, I see them now. Not in the regular place but definitely there.
I wasn't too happy with the WASD markings but looking again the
the G1-G5 keys would be perfect for those custom keys I want to use.
Just where Sun put them.
And they're programmable. You might have to program them on a windows
box but the program should stay.
I just checked, looks like I can do almost everything with Linux:

https://github.com/MohamadSaada/LogiGSK

and this package does the G keys:

https://github.com/JSubelj/g910-gkey-macro-support

But I don't want the G keys to emit strings, just a unique key code.
I can get Linux/fvwm/Emacs to do the rest.
I think I can figure it out.
--
Dan Espen
Dave Garland
2020-09-05 17:03:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
As far as I can tell, the Windows OS owns the root window.
I'm not a windows expert but I couldn't find a way to write my own key bindings
and Windows doesn't expose it for cusomization.
I'm a big fan of root window key bindings.
Typically the root window brings up menus and you navigate the menus
with the arrow keys. So, I use the arrow keys to launch root window menus.
As a user, there are of course various hotkey/scripting programs for
Windows (I use AutoHotKey, it's pretty slick, GPL2 and the source is
online). I realize that's not getting down in the weeds and doing it
yourself.
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 18:07:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
I also tried to hot key frequently used menu entries on Windows.
I think I was renaming things like "control panel" as '&C. Control Panel".
I seem to remember that getting close but quickly fell apart.
Interesting question. Never tried to do anything like that with
Windows--might involve writing some real code.
As far as I can tell, the Windows OS owns the root window.
I'm not a windows expert but I couldn't find a way to write my own key bindings
and Windows doesn't expose it for cusomization.
I'm a big fan of root window key bindings.
Typically the root window brings up menus and you navigate the menus
with the arrow keys. So, I use the arrow keys to launch root window menus.
As a user, there are of course various hotkey/scripting programs for
Windows (I use AutoHotKey, it's pretty slick, GPL2 and the source is
online). I realize that's not getting down in the weeds and doing it
yourself.
See my other post, not sure if it could do it at all.
Of course I no longer need that since I don't work anymore.
It might cover the stuff I do now. Not sure.
--
Dan Espen
Peter Flass
2020-09-06 00:53:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?
And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Now they say it’s the “do everything” OS. It runs Android apps, Linux
programs, and Windows programs.
--
Pete
J. Clarke
2020-09-06 00:57:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
Where I worked, we mostly used Sun Workstations but we had a few X
terminals. The X terminals were just as useful as the workstations.
(You could go to any number of other machines for computing.)
I got the impression the X terminals weren't cheap enough to catch on.
This has been the problem with GUI terminals right along. A terminal
that can display a GUI has all the pieces to just be a computer so why
not just put an OS on it and use it as such?
And before anybody says "Chrombook", ChromeOS is just Linux that
somebody shot in the leg.
Now they say it’s the “do everything” OS. It runs Android apps, Linux
programs, and Windows programs.
I've never seen a claim that it runs Windows programs. It runs
Microsoft cloud applications, which is a rather different thing.
Peter Flass
2020-09-06 00:38:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
People say the plethora of window managers is a plus, I tend to doubt it.
As far as frequent changes, I thought that Ubuntu moving by default from
Gnome2 to Gnome3 was a big mistake. I installed a new release and it was
hate at first sight. I hunted around and found Mate, which is still Gnome2,
although I guess there are several, like Mint, that are as well. Mate seems
to stay the dame from release to release.

Developers seem to like to change things, maybe not “just because they
can”, but maybe just because someone thinks they have a better idea without
considering how users actually work.
--
Pete
Dan Espen
2020-09-06 01:58:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Dan Espen
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
People say the plethora of window managers is a plus, I tend to doubt it.
As far as frequent changes, I thought that Ubuntu moving by default from
Gnome2 to Gnome3 was a big mistake. I installed a new release and it was
hate at first sight. I hunted around and found Mate, which is still Gnome2,
although I guess there are several, like Mint, that are as well. Mate seems
to stay the dame from release to release.
Developers seem to like to change things, maybe not “just because they
can”, but maybe just because someone thinks they have a better idea without
considering how users actually work.
I agree, I just don't see the constant change.
I don't see a problem with new features, but I'd expect to only see the
new feature if I turn it on.
--
Dan Espen
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-09-06 06:10:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sat, 5 Sep 2020 17:38:37 -0700
Post by Peter Flass
People say the plethora of window managers is a plus, I tend to doubt it.
It is if you can find one you like - I did a long time ago and I'm
still using it today.
Post by Peter Flass
As far as frequent changes, I thought that Ubuntu moving by default from
I don't get frequent changes, because the environment I choose is
stable.
Post by Peter Flass
Gnome2 to Gnome3 was a big mistake. I installed a new release and it was
Following fashion is usually a big mistake.
Post by Peter Flass
hate at first sight. I hunted around and found Mate, which is still
Gnome2, although I guess there are several, like Mint, that are as well.
Mint is a distribution, Mate is a desktop. One option for Mint is
Mate.
Post by Peter Flass
Mate seems to stay the dame from release to release.
I don't like having the installation decide on my window manager, I
like to choose it.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Scott Lurndal
2020-09-06 20:05:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Dan Espen
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
People say the plethora of window managers is a plus, I tend to doubt it.
I don't.
Post by Peter Flass
As far as frequent changes, I thought that Ubuntu moving by default from
Gnome2 to Gnome3 was a big mistake.
I've been using TWM since 1989. It still works just
fine, even with modern distro's; one simply needs to discover
how each distro fires up the X session (~/.xsession or ~/.xinitrc)

scott
Charlie Gibbs
2020-09-08 21:10:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Dan Espen
As for consistency, I notice all the mainstream desktop managers
change with every release. My WM, Fvwm only changes when I change
my configuration file. Fvwm gets new features, it just doesn't force
change with every release. My desktop is pretty much the same as it
was 20 years ago. That's consistent.
People say the plethora of window managers is a plus, I tend to doubt it.
As far as frequent changes, I thought that Ubuntu moving by default from
Gnome2 to Gnome3 was a big mistake. I installed a new release and it was
hate at first sight. I hunted around and found Mate, which is still Gnome2,
although I guess there are several, like Mint, that are as well. Mate seems
to stay the dame from release to release.
What made me dump Ubuntu was their move to Unity. Plus I found that
Gnome was a bit too touchy-feely and I preferred something lean and mean.
I went with Blackbox for a while, but that was a bit _too_ lean, and
have since settled on xfce.
Post by Peter Flass
Developers seem to like to change things, maybe not “just because they
can”, but maybe just because someone thinks they have a better idea without
considering how users actually work.
And that's why I believe that having a choice of window managers is
a Good Thing. When some developer decides to pull the rug out from
under you, you can tell him to get stuffed.
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
Bob Eager
2020-09-05 13:30:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc. Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days. And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to) or ssh
in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of course, in
the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
I'm happy enough with Xfce and my choice of mail client, browser and news
client.

But I spend most of my time (other than that) at the command prompt.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Jorgen Grahn
2020-09-05 19:17:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc.
Too many different projects fiddling with it and adding layers on top,
from Motif in the 1990s to Gnome and whatever is hot today. I ignore
all that and use just an old window manager (ctwm). Works fine so far;
nothing important really /depends/ on Gnome and friends.

Many others successfully use tiling window managers, which are (see
above) optimized for displaying a bunch of terminal emulators.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days.
I started using Windows 10 at work this week, and I dislike it. All
windows seem to be decorated differently, and all of them seem to want
to go fullscreen all the time -- which makes sense, because the window
manager makes it really hard to see where one window begins and
another one ends, and which one has focus.

I kind of like the UI of Windows 2000 though; I've run all later
versions until now in some "classic mode" which looks and works like
that one. It's simple and functional.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to)
You must mean something more than PuTTY's "Saved sessions". Those are
in the Windows Registry; a coworker talked about a fork of PuTTY which
puts them in a text file.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
or ssh in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of
course, in the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
/Jorgen
--
// Jorgen Grahn <grahn@ Oo o. . .
\X/ snipabacken.se> O o .
J. Clarke
2020-09-05 20:20:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jorgen Grahn
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc.
Too many different projects fiddling with it and adding layers on top,
from Motif in the 1990s to Gnome and whatever is hot today. I ignore
all that and use just an old window manager (ctwm). Works fine so far;
nothing important really /depends/ on Gnome and friends.
Many others successfully use tiling window managers, which are (see
above) optimized for displaying a bunch of terminal emulators.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days.
I started using Windows 10 at work this week, and I dislike it. All
windows seem to be decorated differently, and all of them seem to want
to go fullscreen all the time -- which makes sense, because the window
manager makes it really hard to see where one window begins and
another one ends, and which one has focus.
Lower right corner--left click once, you should get a display in the
lower right with a bunch of little boxes. One of them is "tablet
mode". Turn it off. There may be other tweaks you need to get to a
reasonable desktop.
Post by Jorgen Grahn
I kind of like the UI of Windows 2000 though; I've run all later
versions until now in some "classic mode" which looks and works like
that one. It's simple and functional.
Windows 10 on a non-tablet, unless some genius in IT has decided to
"help" you by tweaking the settings, should look kind of like Windows
2000 only with squared corners.
Post by Jorgen Grahn
Post by Niklas Karlsson
And with PuTTY (or something fancier that
keeps an easily accessible database of machines you connect to)
You must mean something more than PuTTY's "Saved sessions". Those are
in the Windows Registry; a coworker talked about a fork of PuTTY which
puts them in a text file.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
or ssh in Terminal.app, you might as well be in *nix anyhow. And of
course, in the case of macOS, you actually ARE.
/Jorgen
Jorgen Grahn
2020-11-19 07:15:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
...
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Jorgen Grahn
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days.
I started using Windows 10 at work this week, and I dislike it. All
windows seem to be decorated differently, and all of them seem to want
to go fullscreen all the time -- which makes sense, because the window
manager makes it really hard to see where one window begins and
another one ends, and which one has focus.
Lower right corner--left click once, you should get a display in the
lower right with a bunch of little boxes. One of them is "tablet
mode". Turn it off. There may be other tweaks you need to get to a
reasonable desktop.
I read this several months late, but thanks! Turns out that I was in
non-tablet mode already. And indeed it /is/ possible to arrange the
windows as I want them on my desktop; it's just that you can tell that
Windows would rather want them arranged differently.

/Jorgen
--
// Jorgen Grahn <grahn@ Oo o. . .
\X/ snipabacken.se> O o .
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 20:41:10 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jorgen Grahn
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Post by Bob Eager
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That does seem to be how most hardcore *nix geeks use X.
I'm not really a fan of X, especially what it's become today with a
bunch of inconsistent window managers and other systems, umpteen
different ways copy/paste works depending on which window you're in,
etc.
Too many different projects fiddling with it and adding layers on top,
from Motif in the 1990s to Gnome and whatever is hot today. I ignore
all that and use just an old window manager (ctwm). Works fine so far;
nothing important really /depends/ on Gnome and friends.
I was using cvtwm when I stumbled on Fvwm.
The "Style" command did it for me.
Much more logical way to organize your settings.
Post by Jorgen Grahn
Many others successfully use tiling window managers, which are (see
above) optimized for displaying a bunch of terminal emulators.
Post by Niklas Karlsson
Perhaps Wayland is an improvement somehow - I've not really used it
yet.
Windows 10 and macOS have their flaws, to be sure, but their GUIs are
pretty agreeable these days.
I started using Windows 10 at work this week, and I dislike it. All
windows seem to be decorated differently, and all of them seem to want
to go fullscreen all the time -- which makes sense, because the window
manager makes it really hard to see where one window begins and
another one ends, and which one has focus.
I kind of like the UI of Windows 2000 though; I've run all later
versions until now in some "classic mode" which looks and works like
that one. It's simple and functional.
I never could get Windows to stop creating new windows under the window
I was working in. Also it's autoraise would drive me nuts.
--
Dan Espen
Jorgen Grahn
2020-09-05 18:59:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sat, 2020-09-05, Bob Eager wrote:
...
Post by Bob Eager
Around 1990 (in a university computer centre) one of the senior tech guys
gave a presentation. In it, he said that PCs were never going to catch on
in a big way (i.e. one on every desk) but that the future was X
terminals. He demonstrated how wonderful they were.
That worked really well at university for me. We had a mix of X
terminals and netbooting Sun workstations. It didn't matter which
machine you sat down at, and you didn't have to administer anything,
except make sure I didn't exceed my quotas. All kinds of useful
software was made available.

At workplaces I've only seen that kind of setup once or twice. It's
common though to do all useful work on a set of central servers; then
the computer on your desk becomes more or less an expensive X
terminal.

/Jorgen
--
// Jorgen Grahn <grahn@ Oo o. . .
\X/ snipabacken.se> O o .
Bob Eager
2020-09-05 20:01:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jorgen Grahn
...
Post by Bob Eager
Around 1990 (in a university computer centre) one of the senior tech
guys gave a presentation. In it, he said that PCs were never going to
catch on in a big way (i.e. one on every desk) but that the future was
X terminals. He demonstrated how wonderful they were.
That worked really well at university for me. We had a mix of X
terminals and netbooting Sun workstations. It didn't matter which
machine you sat down at, and you didn't have to administer anything,
except make sure I didn't exceed my quotas. All kinds of useful
software was made available.
Never used roaming profiles on Windows? Hell, we have those at home!

Not to mention UNIX with a central NFS server.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-09-05 21:06:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 5 Sep 2020 20:01:05 GMT
Post by Bob Eager
Never used roaming profiles on Windows? Hell, we have those at home!
I don't.
Post by Bob Eager
Not to mention UNIX with a central NFS server.
I do have that at home.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Bob Eager
2020-09-06 08:21:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
Post by Bob Eager
Never used roaming profiles on Windows? Hell, we have those at home!
I don't.
Post by Bob Eager
Not to mention UNIX with a central NFS server.
I do have that at home.
Well, of course. The UNIX server also serves via SMB, of course.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-09-06 09:26:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 6 Sep 2020 08:21:37 GMT
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
Post by Bob Eager
Never used roaming profiles on Windows? Hell, we have those at home!
I don't.
Post by Bob Eager
Not to mention UNIX with a central NFS server.
I do have that at home.
Well, of course. The UNIX server also serves via SMB, of course.
Of course.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Jorgen Grahn
2020-11-14 08:58:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Jorgen Grahn
...
Post by Bob Eager
Around 1990 (in a university computer centre) one of the senior tech
guys gave a presentation. In it, he said that PCs were never going to
catch on in a big way (i.e. one on every desk) but that the future was
X terminals. He demonstrated how wonderful they were.
That worked really well at university for me. We had a mix of X
terminals and netbooting Sun workstations. It didn't matter which
machine you sat down at, and you didn't have to administer anything,
except make sure I didn't exceed my quotas. All kinds of useful
software was made available.
Never used roaming profiles on Windows? Hell, we have those at home!
We may have had them, but the only effect I saw was a slowdown of my
work. I never saw them used so that you could sit down at any
computer and not tell a difference.

That may have been the administrators' fault rather than Microsoft's.
Post by Bob Eager
Not to mention UNIX with a central NFS server.
That would be "netbooting Sun workstations", so it's mentioned
already.

/Jorgen
--
// Jorgen Grahn <grahn@ Oo o. . .
\X/ snipabacken.se> O o .
Peter Flass
2020-09-06 00:38:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Dan Espen
We've all probably got our own little peephole that we look at computing
history through.
I remember discussion among my peers about automating dentist offices,
gas stations, etc. there was a huge untapped market there, but S/360
was priced way out of that market. Then in the 90s PCs started to enter
that market. That's when I saw the future of the mainframe.
I'd guess 2000 is about right for the start of significant movement off
the mainframe. But of course there are plenty of large companies that
are still on mainframes and will remain there for the foreseeable
future.
Around 1990 (in a university computer centre) one of the senior tech guys
gave a presentation. In it, he said that PCs were never going to catch on
in a big way (i.e. one on every desk) but that the future was X
terminals. He demonstrated how wonderful they were.
The only reason there weren't many PCs in that place was the director.
Nice guy, but he'd taken against PCs for soem reason. He retired a year
later, and the tech guy suddenly found PCs everywhere. Not many X
terminals, even as PCs.
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That’s about half of the way I operate.
--
Pete
Bob Eager
2020-09-06 08:20:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Dan Espen
We've all probably got our own little peephole that we look at
computing history through.
I remember discussion among my peers about automating dentist offices,
gas stations, etc. there was a huge untapped market there, but S/360
was priced way out of that market. Then in the 90s PCs started to
enter that market. That's when I saw the future of the mainframe.
I'd guess 2000 is about right for the start of significant movement
off the mainframe. But of course there are plenty of large companies
that are still on mainframes and will remain there for the foreseeable
future.
Around 1990 (in a university computer centre) one of the senior tech
guys gave a presentation. In it, he said that PCs were never going to
catch on in a big way (i.e. one on every desk) but that the future was
X terminals. He demonstrated how wonderful they were.
The only reason there weren't many PCs in that place was the director.
Nice guy, but he'd taken against PCs for soem reason. He retired a year
later, and the tech guy suddenly found PCs everywhere. Not many X
terminals, even as PCs.
(I have to say that his idea of an X terminal's usefulness was how many
command prompt windows it could display).
That’s about half of the way I operate.
And me, actually. But not totally. Much as I was happy enough with mh and
rn, I prefer Claws and Pan!
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Charlie Gibbs
2020-09-08 21:10:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Dan Espen
I'd guess 2000 is about right for the start of significant movement off
the mainframe. But of course there are plenty of large companies that
are still on mainframes and will remain there for the foreseeable
future.
Around 1990 (in a university computer centre) one of the senior tech guys
gave a presentation. In it, he said that PCs were never going to catch on
in a big way (i.e. one on every desk) but that the future was X
terminals. He demonstrated how wonderful they were.
Nowadays, you can replace "X terminal" with "personal computer running
a web browser", or "smart terminal" with "smartphone running an app".
We've come full circle with the computing model, and are once again
using computers as terminals on a centralized server, just like we
did in the '60s and '70s. The operation is the same, only the
terminology has changed.
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
John Levine
2020-09-08 22:29:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Nowadays, you can replace "X terminal" with "personal computer running
a web browser", or "smart terminal" with "smartphone running an app".
We've come full circle with the computing model, and are once again
using computers as terminals on a centralized server, just like we
did in the '60s and '70s. The operation is the same, only the
terminology has changed.
Sometimes not even that. The Mac on which I am typing this message
literally functions as an X terminal (among other things), displaying
application windows from X clients running on other computers. I edit
text files on my server in Epsilon, an emacs clone, talking through an
ssh tunnel to XQuartz on my laptop.

Web browsers started as thin clients but with HTML5 and Javascript
they're getting a lot thicker.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Niklas Karlsson
2020-09-09 19:20:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Nowadays, you can replace "X terminal" with "personal computer running
a web browser", or "smart terminal" with "smartphone running an app".
We've come full circle with the computing model, and are once again
using computers as terminals on a centralized server, just like we
did in the '60s and '70s. The operation is the same, only the
terminology has changed.
These days, yes. The outfit I'm about to start at takes this to the next
level - there's actually a huge computing resource (a Cray XC40) that
people are clamoring for time on.

That's going to be interesting.

Niklas
--
I hereby wish to register the band name "rm -rf /".
-- Jim
J. Clarke
2020-09-05 13:44:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Thomas Koenig
Clearly, in the 1980s, mainframes ruled the commercial world, at
least for large companies.
By that time, they had mostly lost the crown of scientific
calculation to the minis (with the exception of vector computers).
So, when did they lose their dominant commercial position?
At the company I used to work for, they had a home-grown accounting
system running on mainframes, which they then replaced with an ERP
system in the late 1990s. That system didn't need the mainframes
any more, so they were deactivated.
(You could argue that a company which does that replaces a hardware
vendor lock with the mother of all software vendor locks.)
Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is
no certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.
So, when did the mainframes start losing the commercial computing
centers? Is around 2000-ish the right timeframe?
We've all probably got our own little peephole that we look at computing
history through.
I remember discussion among my peers about automating dentist offices,
gas stations, etc. there was a huge untapped market there, but S/360
was priced way out of that market. Then in the 90s PCs started
to enter that market. That's when I saw the future of the mainframe.
I'd guess 2000 is about right for the start of significant
movement off the mainframe. But of course there are plenty of
large companies that are still on mainframes and will remain there
for the foreseeable future.
We likely will be until some time in the early 2100s. Our new
products are supported on a hardware-agnostic admin system but the old
ones will be in force until then. Life insurance is a long game.
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-09-05 15:59:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sat, 05 Sep 2020 06:55:08 -0400
Post by Dan Espen
I'd guess 2000 is about right for the start of significant
movement off the mainframe. But of course there are plenty of
I'd say the shift started earlier, from the late 80s there was the
rise of the unix server - usually a box with a QIC tape drive on the
front, a *lot* of RS232 ports on the back and a 68K or 808*6 or similar.
They started eating away at the bottom end of the mini market until around
1990 it started to be possible to use a cluster of them to outperform a
mainframe in some applications.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Jason Evans
2020-09-05 14:20:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is no
certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.
There isn't certified hardware for HANA on zSystem, but there is for
SUSE. They has 90% market share as the distro of choice for SAP. I know
because I work there.
Thomas Koenig
2020-09-05 16:27:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jason Evans
Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is no
certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.
There isn't certified hardware for HANA on zSystem,
That's what I meant, I expressed myself poorly there.
Post by Jason Evans
but there is for
SUSE. They has 90% market share as the distro of choice for SAP. I know
because I work there.
And there is something about this I don't understand. At the company
I work, it is _really_ hard to get a non-Windows box connected to
the company network, because of security concerns. Yet SAP, the
most business-critical appliation of all, runs on Linux servers.

Oh well...
Dan Espen
2020-09-05 16:58:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by Jason Evans
Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is no
certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.
There isn't certified hardware for HANA on zSystem,
That's what I meant, I expressed myself poorly there.
Post by Jason Evans
but there is for
SUSE. They has 90% market share as the distro of choice for SAP. I know
because I work there.
And there is something about this I don't understand. At the company
I work, it is _really_ hard to get a non-Windows box connected to
the company network, because of security concerns. Yet SAP, the
most business-critical appliation of all, runs on Linux servers.
Oh well...
Of course you don't understand it.
It's corporate think.
You wouldn't be rational if you understood it.
--
Dan Espen
J. Clarke
2020-09-05 17:01:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by Jason Evans
Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is no
certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.
There isn't certified hardware for HANA on zSystem,
That's what I meant, I expressed myself poorly there.
Post by Jason Evans
but there is for
SUSE. They has 90% market share as the distro of choice for SAP. I know
because I work there.
And there is something about this I don't understand. At the company
I work, it is _really_ hard to get a non-Windows box connected to
the company network, because of security concerns. Yet SAP, the
most business-critical appliation of all, runs on Linux servers.
Oh well...
Of course you don't understand it.
It's corporate think.
You wouldn't be rational if you understood it.
Different systems are maintained by different parts of the
organization, and each has its own rules. And some of them are nuts.
Jorgen Grahn
2020-09-05 19:38:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by Jason Evans
Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is no
certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.
There isn't certified hardware for HANA on zSystem,
That's what I meant, I expressed myself poorly there.
Post by Jason Evans
but there is for SUSE. They has 90% market share as the distro of
choice for SAP. I know because I work there.
And there is something about this I don't understand. At the company
I work, it is _really_ hard to get a non-Windows box connected to
the company network, because of security concerns.
If your security is based on that everything on the network is a
Windows box locked down, maintained and monitored by a bunch of people
who know those Windows boxes really well, then anything else one the
network would become a security concern.

At some point in the future, I'd like to come to a workplace where
everything is visible on the public (IPv6) internet and you can run
any OS you want -- and work from anywhere you want -- as long as you
can authenticate against the various services.

(Part of that happened, in 2015. New workplace, I got a laptop and
was asked what I wanted to run on it. I chose Debian stable, so
someone downloaded the installer for me. For unclear reasons we got
a new IT policy some months later, and everyone had to run
Windows. We still had the same kind of Unix work to do, so we had to
run Linux anyway, in a VM on each laptop. SUSE, because it's more
enterprisey.)

/Jorgen
--
// Jorgen Grahn <grahn@ Oo o. . .
\X/ snipabacken.se> O o .
J. Clarke
2020-09-05 20:24:27 UTC
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Post by Jorgen Grahn
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by Jason Evans
Today, some SAP products seem to run on a zSystem, but there is no
certified hardware for HANA, their high-speed in-memory database,
for that architecture. It's only Intel and POWER.
There isn't certified hardware for HANA on zSystem,
That's what I meant, I expressed myself poorly there.
Post by Jason Evans
but there is for SUSE. They has 90% market share as the distro of
choice for SAP. I know because I work there.
And there is something about this I don't understand. At the company
I work, it is _really_ hard to get a non-Windows box connected to
the company network, because of security concerns.
If your security is based on that everything on the network is a
Windows box locked down, maintained and monitored by a bunch of people
who know those Windows boxes really well, then anything else one the
network would become a security concern.
At some point in the future, I'd like to come to a workplace where
everything is visible on the public (IPv6) internet and you can run
any OS you want -- and work from anywhere you want -- as long as you
can authenticate against the various services.
Believe it or not, Microsoft is driving the world in that direction.
It's a little bit scary at times.
Post by Jorgen Grahn
(Part of that happened, in 2015. New workplace, I got a laptop and
was asked what I wanted to run on it. I chose Debian stable, so
someone downloaded the installer for me. For unclear reasons we got
a new IT policy some months later, and everyone had to run
Windows. We still had the same kind of Unix work to do, so we had to
run Linux anyway, in a VM on each laptop. SUSE, because it's more
enterprisey.)
/Jorgen
Rick Umali
2020-09-05 19:40:32 UTC
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Post by Thomas Koenig
...
So, when did the mainframes start losing the commercial computing
centers? Is around 2000-ish the right timeframe?
My vote would be earlier: 1990s. I graduated from college in 1990, and
the school I went to boasted of their mainframe, which ran MTS (the
Michigan Terminal System). But all of us hip computer science majors
gravitated to the public access workstation labs that started to appear on
campus in the mid-80s. Those had Sun workstations.
--
Rick Umali / rickumali.com
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2020-09-08 18:22:30 UTC
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[post 9/7/2020 9:02 AM 9/7/2020]
Post by Thomas Koenig
Clearly, in the 1980s, mainframes ruled the commercial world, at
least for large companies.
By that time, they had mostly lost the crown of scientific
calculation to the minis (with the exception of vector computers).
...
Post by Thomas Koenig
So, when did the mainframes start losing the commercial computing
centers? Is around 2000-ish the right timeframe?
Not exactly. A bit of history to put things in context
[in this writer's opinion and experiences]

Minis were certainly popular. But just like the Volkwagon
Beetle was popular, they had their limitations. Many
times researchers found their lab PDP was simply too
underpowered to handle their task and had to turn to
the corporate data center's IBM mainframe. Lo and
behold, the mainframe ran through a Fortran job in
no time. Often the mainframe programmers discovered
the researchers' Fortran program was poorly written
(e.g. unnecessary arithmetic statements within a
DO LOOP or unnecessary loops or I/O) and with a few
twists sped it up.
Post by Thomas Koenig
So, when did they lose their dominant commercial position?
Mainframe computers were and are heavy duty
machines. They can do a lot of work, but they
are very expensive. To be economically justified,
a mainframe needs a lot of volume.

IBM learned this when it found that its System/360
low-end models, even the budget model 20, was still
too expensive for small users. So it developed
the System/3.


Anyway, regarding the transition to smaller machines,
this happened gradually over a long period of time.

There was no magic date that mainframes "lost out".

In many organizations, the big IBM mainframe is alive
and well. IBM continues to upgrade its Z series
as we can see in the continuing new features described
in the latest Principles of Operations.

Certain aspects of the personal computer enabled it
to efficiently offload some of the work that the
mainframe used to do. For instance, accountants
would download raw files from the mainframe onto
their PC and use Lotus to do easily analysis.
This freed them from having a programmer write
and revise COBOL programs to research various
scenarios. As PCs grew in sophistication and
became more networked, their usage grew and
more work could be offloaded to them.

But I would posit there was also a 'herd mentality'
in corporate decision making. This has been
documented in the literature for the 1960s--a
lot of companies got computers because it was
the thing to do, not whether it would truly save
them money or improve efficiency. The CEO of
Avis wrote about this. There were many, many
computer system screwups in those years.
The CEOs demanded too much--the hardware
AND software of the era were stretched too thin.

(Geez, I remember when a bank put in a computer
system. They were so proud of it! But then customer
lines went out the door and around the block due to
delays. Finally they had to bring back
the old Burroughs posting machines less the
bank collapse, and rework the computer. The
same thing happened later to a department store
when it installed computerized registers. I
remember a truck bringing back the old
NCR registers and the salesclerks breathing a
sigh of relief. This sort of thing happened
a lot.)

Now, let's fast forward to more recent years.

Suddenly, the mainframe was referred to as
"legacy" or a "dinosaur", as were mainframe
programmers. "Client/Server" became the rage.
Why was that? Was it based on sound economic/
feasibility studies? Could Client/Server do
the work more effectively and efficiently?

In reality, there were four things going on:

First, IBM had lost its way. It had become
big and bloated and that meant its products
weren't keeping up with price/performance
demands of its customers. IBM had to get
an outside CEO and go through a major
contraction. Lots of people lost their jobs.

At the same time, some corporate data centers
became big and bloated* as well, and not as
responsive to user needs as they should've been.
Software development work became too bureaucratic,
took too long, and was too expensive.

The mainframe was seen as bloated, not an
image that was endearing.

Second, there were some tasks client/server
could do better than the mainframe. In
some cases the personal computer offered
cheaper hardware. In some cases it was
easier to program. Indeed, the mainframe
carried many 'baby' systems because
originally that was the only machine available.
When the PC came out, the baby systems could
be offloaded to it and were.

Third, the client/server world was young
and very aggressive. They were pushing their
product lines very hard. They exploited
IBM's troubles. The trade press touted
them. Having PCs do the work became all
the rage. CEOs and user department heads
didn't want to be left behind or be seen
as old fashioned. The Internet, despite
its many problems (like security) became
something to be worshipped. Having
access was a status symbol.

Fourth, there were corporate politics at
work. In many cases, the new client server system
was under the control of the user department,
not the central data processing department.
Department heads wanted the control--and
power--of owning and running the computer
themselves. That was extremely important
to them, rightly or wrongly. It had
nothing to do with efficiency, rather turf.
Indeed, often it was wasteful and a screwup**.
This power grab certainly help push the
transition away from the mainframe.


* Some of the bureaucracy was unnecessary,
imposed by clueless corporate auditors.
(Read an auditing textbook and you'll be shocked
at the b/s they recommend).

However, some of the bureaucracy was indeed
necessary to protect data files and software
from accidental deletion or deliberate sabotage.
Many of the client server sites had major
screwups that never would've happened in
traditionally run mainframe sites. They
had to learn the wheel all over again.


** Just as mainframers had to bail out the
research labs when their little PDP couldn't
do the job, mainframers later had to bail out
client/server sites that got screwed up.
So often a 'wonderful software product' proved
in practice to be not so wonderful.
Niklas Karlsson
2020-09-09 16:02:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Minis were certainly popular. But just like the Volkwagon
Beetle was popular, they had their limitations. Many
times researchers found their lab PDP was simply too
underpowered to handle their task and had to turn to
the corporate data center's IBM mainframe. Lo and
behold, the mainframe ran through a Fortran job in
no time. Often the mainframe programmers discovered
the researchers' Fortran program was poorly written
(e.g. unnecessary arithmetic statements within a
DO LOOP or unnecessary loops or I/O) and with a few
twists sped it up.
I'll be in that world soon enough. I'm starting work at a High
Performance Computing Centre. Fortran is still popular with the
researchers.

Niklas
--
I suppose one corollary of what you're onto here is that we can let the
pr0n industry sponsor AI development and not have to worry about finding
more traditional sources of research funding.
-- AdB
Thomas Koenig
2020-09-09 16:56:42 UTC
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Post by Niklas Karlsson
I'll be in that world soon enough. I'm starting work at a High
Performance Computing Centre. Fortran is still popular with the
researchers.
If you happen to find any performance bottlenecks in gfortran,
please drop ***@gcc.gnu.org a line or submit a bug report :-)
m***@gmail.com
2020-09-12 08:39:33 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Thomas Koenig
So, when did the mainframes start losing the commercial computing
centers? Is around 2000-ish the right timeframe?
in banks, insurances, government facilities there is one word: reliability.
nowadays pc-based servers are not reliable (even clusters) as mainframes.
hardware and software. zos is most reliable than linux/bsd.
the cobol compiler is more reliable (partly because it is simpler) than the compilers on the pc.
and there is a main reason: who can take the responsability to go from a rock solid system, that is in the company from decades (banks use to upgrade/replace their mainframes keeping ALL the software from older systems), that perfectly fits the needs of the company, to a another system (hardware and software)?
why, exactly?
saving? i don't think the tco of the mainframe is so higher than a cluster. keep in mind that a single hour of down costs a HUGE and i underline HUGE amount of money to a bank, a trading service, a government facility.
innovation? do you REALLY need it? why the old cobol on a mainframe is not adequate? you can keep all the core facilities in cobol on mainframe, and you can access it via java for webapps or other things.

So: i think the reliability of a mainframe is actually unsurpassed. Do you want to change? ok, but you have to keep in mind that, for a bank, it is more important the reliability (and the mainframe has other advantages) rather innovation.
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2020-09-17 20:28:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Thomas Koenig
So, when did the mainframes start losing the commercial computing
centers? Is around 2000-ish the right timeframe?
in banks, insurances, government facilities there is one word: reliability.
nowadays pc-based servers are not reliable (even clusters) as mainframes.
hardware and software. zos is most reliable than linux/bsd.
the cobol compiler is more reliable (partly because it is simpler) than the compilers on the pc.
and there is a main reason: who can take the responsability to go from a rock solid system, that is in the company from decades (banks use to upgrade/replace their mainframes keeping ALL the software from older systems), that perfectly fits the needs of the company, to a another system (hardware and software)?
why, exactly?
saving? i don't think the tco of the mainframe is so higher than a cluster. keep in mind that a single hour of down costs a HUGE and i underline HUGE amount of money to a bank, a trading service, a government facility.
innovation? do you REALLY need it? why the old cobol on a mainframe is not adequate? you can keep all the core facilities in cobol on mainframe, and you can access it via java for webapps or other things.
So: i think the reliability of a mainframe is actually unsurpassed. Do you want to change? ok, but you have to keep in mind that, for a bank, it is more important the reliability (and the mainframe has other advantages) rather innovation.
Part of the reason for the high mainframe reliability is
the years of accumulated experience with them. Programmers
made the mistakes and resolved the bugs. If something
does go wrong, they know how to fix it fast.

Further, mainframe software is much more stable. It changes
more slowly. We've had server systems that had to be
scrapped due to changes.
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